Rich Branch Area on Log Creek,
Rockford Township, Caldwell County, Missouri
Caldwell County was identified as a gathering place for Mormons in 1836. Some LDS members immediately began moving into this new country. Charles C. Rich, an active member of the church from Tazewell County, Illinois, was among this vanguard. Rich traveled to Caldwell County in November 1836 to survey the opportunities of the region. He visited Log Creek. During this visit, Rich procured property and planned to return with his family. Then he returned east, to dispose of his Illinois property. Church members in Tazewell found Charles Rich to be a born leader, so it seemed natural when Rich began to organize his family and friends for a move to Northern Missouri. A small party of Saints set out for Missouri in April 1837, in response to their religious ideals and Rich's urging. On arrival, they immediately set to work building Log Creek into what they hoped would be a prosperous settlement in their new Zion.
These new residents fell in love with the wooded groves and prairie lands that surrounding the upper reaches of Log Creek. The extended Rich family acquired several additional parcels of land. Charles and his Joseph father cleared land and began improving their holdings. Their neighbors followed their example. As other families arrived, Log Creek developed into a sizable settlement of church members. Members selected Charles as the Presiding Elder of the Rich Branch of the church along Log Creek.
One can distinguish between the earliest Caldwell settlers and those who moved to the area later, partly because of Rich's influence. In the list below many, like Timothy B. Clark, had been associated with Rich from their former days together in Illinois. Justus Morse first met Charles C. Rich while serving together in the 1834 march of "Zion's Camp."
In the closing turbulent days of the Mormon period in Caldwell County, Log Creek turned out to be a fairy save haven. It proved popular just prior to and especially following the surrender of Far West in November 1838. Many who had been crowded into Far West in preparation for a long hostile siege, were now free to move out into the surrounding country in hopes of surviving the harsh winter. Log Creek proved to be the last stop of many anticipating their departure from Northern Missouri for new opportunities in what would become Nauvoo, Illinois. The journal of Bathseba Bigler Smith is an excellent reflection of this experience. John Hawley's reminiscences also reinforce this pattern.
William Draper recalled, "So we concluded to leave the main road and took a by road that led through a thin settled country for about 15 or 20 miles where the settlement and road ended and we took across an uninhabited country without any road about 40 miles which brought us out at the Rinowaned [sic] Hauns Mill; and from there through Caldwell County to within about 4 or 5 miles of Far West, where we concluded to stop and make our home in that place.
There was a large branch of the Church here known as the Lay Creek Branch. So I bought me a snug little home consisting of a log house and blacksmith shop and seven acres of good land under cultivation with a good rail fence around it, but that took all of my means to pay for it, but one yoke of oxen, one house and two cows, but corn and pork was plenty, corn being the main bread stuff then, so I set to work at shoemaking and made my family comfortable again.
And in a short time I was called upon to take the presidency of this branch being the only high priest in the branch. I accepted the appointment and all things went on comfortable notwithstanding excitement reigned in the country around and hostilities increased daily by the mobs on the out side; still many by the adjoining counties and finally by the middle of October hostilities ran so high that we received another message from the Prophet requesting us all in the out settlement to come in to Far West City. We readily complied with the counsel given and many of the brethren tore down their log houses and moved to the city; but I did not tear my house down, but went into the city with the rest of my brethren from that branch, and took shelter in an old log cabin with three other families. . . ." William Draper Autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, 7 -8.
1. John Cooper. On 8/18/36 he entered NW ¼ of NE ¼ in Sec. 15, (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29. The next year, he added 40 more acres also in Sec. 15 viz., SE ¼ of NW ¼. Rich helped him put up a cabin on 11/04/36, so it was probably located on the first 40 acres Cooper entered, [Allen Stout Journal, C.C. Rich 1836 Journal]
2. Charles C. Rich
3. Joseph & Nancy Rich
4. Thomas Rich (Sarah says he lived with them)
5. Landon Rich (Charles C. Rich's uncle)
6. Hervey Green
7. Hosea Stout. From his brother Alan's journal: “Hosea and Ben soon came on and Hosea had a good bag of cash, so he entered 200 acres of good land, and we went to work and built a house on it, and Lydia kept house for us. Father stayed sometimes at Hosea's and sometimes at [Benjamin] Jones'.” U.S. government purchases only included a 40 acre tract in (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29, (NW ¼ of SW ¼ of Sec. 35 entered 9/12/37).
8. Alan Stout. From Alan Stout's pen, we have the most affirming of all known journal accounts of the significance of Charles C. Rich's standing in the Branch. “On the 5th of July, 1837, father and I set out for Caldwell County, Missouri, in company with Anna and Jones family, and what was called the Rich branch of the Church. C.[Charles] C. Rich was our leader.
9. Bathseba Bigler Smith. Clues in Bathseba's journal provide important data to show her family also lived in the Rich Branch, “My brother, Jacob G. Bigler, having gone to Far West, Mo., joined the church there and bought a farm for my father, and then returned… Three nights after we had arrived at the farm which my brother had bought, and which was four miles south of the city of Far West, word came that a mob was gathering on Crooked River [October 24, 1838].
10. Justus Morse. Rich said he stayed the night at Br. Morse in the Log Creek area on Nov. 1, 1836. Later on, April 28, 1837, Rich hired Justus “to brake some prarie.
11. Amasa Lyman, listed in Joseph Holbrook as a neighbor in the Plum Creek settlement, Lyman says in his journal that his family lived with the Morse family. Both accounts are probably true…while Amasa did enter land in the Plum Creek area 11/29/37 (NE ¼ of NE ¼ of Sec. 19, (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29), he may have later moved his family in with the Morse's during the hostilities for mutual protection.
12. Stephan Winchester. Similar to C.C. Rich, Stephen Winchester purchased government land in November of 1836 and added more in 1837. Also like Rich, Winchester ultimately built and lived on the later property he purchased. His enteries are as follows: 11/14/36, NW ¼ of NE ¼ of Sec. 4, in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29), on 8/14/37 SE ¼ of NE ¼ Sec 34 and E ½ of SE ¼ Sec. 34, in (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29.
13. James Hendricks, owned two properties in Sec. 35, of (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29. On 6/12/37 he entered SE ¼ of NW ¼ and three months later he added W1/2 of NW ¼, on 9/20/37.
14. Morris Phelps. Phelps moved to Jackson Co. MO. After his conversion. He was C.C. Rich's brother-in-law. Phelps entered two 40 acre tracts on 8/25/36 in Sec. 26, NE ¼ of SE ¼ and the SE1/4 of NE ¼, of (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29. On April 9, 1837, Rich says a church service was held near Morris' house and Lyman Wright spoke.
15. Lyman Wight (before moving to AOA)
16. Widow Pick? Peck, or Pickand? Rich helped her raise a house in April 1837.
17. Br. Baldwin, probably not Wheeler who owned property in Grant T.S., but more likely Caleb, a Caldwell resident from 1837-39 (Redress Petitions, p. 684). Mentioned in Rich's journal when Rich stayed at his house on April 22, 1837 and for having attended a meeting there on April 20, 1837.
18. Martin C. Allred, C.C. Rich mentions Martin Allred in his journal in 1836 and places him in the Log Creek Settlement area. Land entries tend to verify Rich's assertion as well (…he had 80 acres entered in Oct. and Nov. 1836 in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29).
19. Br. Owen, probably Jedediah Owen(s). Entered two 40 acre tracts on 12/1/36 in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29, viz., NE ¼ of NW ¼ and NE ¼ of SE ¼ both in Sec. 15. On 7/29/37, Owen added, the SE ¼ of SW ¼ in sec. 10 also in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29. Rich's journal account for 11/16/36 was: “I went to Log Creek. Found Br. Owen and staid all night with him.
20. Benjamin Dobson, entered E ½ of NE ¼ of Sec. 3 in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29 in Aug. 1837.
21. Harris Park, entered the W ½ of SW ¼ of Sec. 1, (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29 in Aug. 1836. Rich mentions staying the night at his house on Nov. 9, 1836.
22. Harrison Howard, appears on Mike Rigg's Log House land title deed and Howard recorded only one original land entry viz., SE ¼ of NE ¼ Sec. 4 in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29, on 7/13/37.
23. Timothy B. Clark (Father Clark). His redress petition states that he owned 480 acres at the time of the surrender [pp. 168-69]. His U.S. government purchases totaled 280 acres the first one entered on 8/18/36 at E ½ of SE ¼ of Sec. 10 in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29. If you include his son William O. Clark's government land the total would be 400 acres. With the exception of on 40 acre track in (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29, the rest of T. B. Clark's land was in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29, near to Rich's property.
23. Sanford Porter. Moved to Jackson Co. Missouri soon after conversion. No government sales are listed for Sanford
24. Solomon Wixom. Entered the NW ¼ of the SE ¼ of Sec. 15 in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29 on 7/7/37. He later went to San Bernardino with Rich and Lyman.
25. Benjamin Jones. A widower, Jones later married Anna Stout (sister of Hosea), 29 November 1832…the wedding was performed by Rich in Illinois [Arrington, p. 22]. Jones entered two 40 acre parcels in (Rockford) Township 55, Range 29. The first was 2/26/37 being the NE ¼ of SW ¼ Sec. 11 and the other was done two months later SW ¼ of NE ¼ of Sec. 10. [See: David C. Perkins, Tazewell County Illinois Marriage Records Index. 1827-1859, Tazewell County Genealogical Society, Box 312, Pekin, Illinois 61554.]
26. John L. Butler. An example of one of the earliest to come to the area. While not a Tazwell, County neighbor to the Rich group, the Butler's had Melinda Porter, daughter of Stanford Porter [see Hartley p. 36, 441n21], living with their family. A significant tie in to Rich because of Rich's association with the Porter family.
27. Pierce Hawley. After the siege of Far West, the family moved onto land they owned on Log Creek, just south of Joseph Rich's property, The family removed to Illinois the following spring, [John Hawley Journal, Community of Christ Archives, Independence, Missouri].
28. Edward Larkey.
29. Silvester H. Earl, Sylvester Earl accompanied Rich to Missouri.
On he 29th of February, 1837, I was baptized under the hands of Charles C. Rich and Harvey Green. I soon left in company with my brothers Wilber, Seymor Brunson, C. C. Rich and G. M. Hinkle for to go to the city of Farwest. The first of April . . . all in good spirits. I purchased me ninety acres of land, bought me a yoke of oxen and several cows and began to prepare to make me a farm. MS 11383, Sylvester Earl, [page 2],
Justus Morse married Eleanor Earl (possibly a daughter of Sylvester) as a plural wife at the end of the Nauvoo period and they had a daughter together. She went with him to San Bernardino, CA, but left him, took their daughter and moved back to Utah.
30. Elihu Allen. Lived five miles southeast of Far West. Warren Foote journal
Moses Clawson lives here [by Elihu Allen] also. Warren Foote journal. Clawson had original land entries in (Kingston) Towhship 56, Range 28, in Dec. 1836 comprising 120 acres, in an area that is about five miles SE of Far West.
31. Warren Foote. 5th Sept. 1838, "We found an empty house near Elihu Allen's place on Log Creek, and moved into it today." Warren Foote journal
32. Lewis Zabriskie 2/8/37 SW ¼ of NW ¼ Sec. 4, (Rockford) Township, Range 28. Zabriskie knew Rich from Eugene, Indiana, where Charles attended a conference and studied at Zabriskie’s house. (Arrington, p. 46).
33. William Draper (see left column).
34. John Gregg. Gregg purchased land early in the Log Creek area. On 10/17/36, NE ¼ of SE ¼ of Sec. 33, and on 11/9/36 the SE ¼ of SW ¼ of Sec. 34, both in (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29, (of the latter transaction, one acre of which, located in the very SW corner he must have sold to Charles Rich most likely in Feb. 1838 because Charles sold it to his Father, Joseph, in Sept. 1838). Gregg also added the SW ¼ of SE ¼ of Sec. 34, (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29, on 4/26/37. The following is in the 1886 History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties,"The site of the village, a town of Mirabile (the SE ¼ of the SW. ¼ of Sec. 34), (Mirabile) Township 56, Range 29, was entered by John Gregg, Nov. 9, 1836. He was a Mormon, and left the State with his brethren for Nauvoo in the spring of 1839. Not long after the Mormon exodus Wm. E. Marquam (pronounced Marcam), who was an Indianian, visited the locality, and it is said then purchased Gregg's land. "
In the Far West Record, 265, Lyndon Cook indicates John Greg was excommunicated on April 26, 1839. In the March 1, 1844 edition of the Times and Seasons, however, a letter from John Gregg stating his continued support for the Mormon Church. Gregg wrote the editor,
"We know God in his providence will soon open the way, that we may enjoy the happy privilege of living with the saints at home [Nauvoo]; but until then, and while we are at a distance, we wish not to be idle."
Log Creek School